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Dino Crisis 2 retrospective

Capcom's answer to Jurassic Park...

Jurassic Park, Spielberg's classic slice of blockbusting celluloid might have a T-Rex, packs of ravenous raptors and a whole heap of Jeff Goldblum brilliance.

But y'know what it doesn't have? One of the best combo systems we've ever seen. That, and weird, bondage-clad sci-fi baddies that look like they've been hired from a German skin flick.

Unlike its predecessor and earlier Resident Evil siblings, Dino Crisis 2 is all about action. Where the first game was bogged down by dull item management and obtuse puzzles, the super sequel is more concerned with letting you turn raptors into prehistoric paste than combining keycards.

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Clearly inspired by the more action-orientated Resident Evil 3, the second Dino Crisis ditches most of the fiddly nonsense associated with survival horror (conserving ammo mixing herbs) for all out gunplay.

Instead of struggling with weedy pistols, time-travelling heroes Regina and Dylan are given shotguns and assault rifles with near limitless lead right from the off.

Holding the shooting together is an ace risk-vs reward combo system, which ties directly into upgrading and buying new dino-destroying weapons.

It's essentially Tony Hawk with guns... and obviously loads of big-ass lizards.

SHOOT TO THRILL
If the first game was Alien (all moody corridors and escalating tension), then Dino Crisis 2 is very much Aliens (balls-to-the-wall set pieces with a far greater number of things to shoot).

Wisely ditching the original's fugly real time environments for pre-rendered backgrounds, Capcom was able to up the number of onscreen enemies dramatically.

This not only made the game much more hectic, but also surprisingly tactical. Kill one of your scaly foes and you're rewarded with a points multiplier, which keeps ticking over as long as you don't allow too much time to elapse between kills.

The more raptors, pteranodons and those spitty bastards' deaths you chain together, the more points you earn to spend on new guns. It's an incredibly moreish system.

Albeit one that's likely to end with you getting your spleen ripped out if you're greedy and try to go for too many kills.

While the core shooting is suitably strong (seriously, how can you go wrong with flamethrowers and allosaurus?), it also helps that the game is paced almost perfectly.

To ensure the constant prehistoric slaughter never becomes a slog, DC2 constantly throws new ideas at you.

Like a chase section where you have to trap a dinosaur that's nicked a card from you in a cage; first-person on-rails sections where you have to bring the pre-historic hurt to some triceratops, and even a genuinely unnerving and otherworldly underwater section that manages to introduce some basic, but enjoyable platforming.

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Crucially, none of these sections outstay their welcome, leaving you with a pleasingly lean adventure with very little flab or filler.

It's also a comparatively beautiful looking game. Well, for a PSone title released in 2000. Those pre-rendered environments also allowed Capcom to move away from the dreary indoor setting of the first game. From steamy jungles, ruined cities, to smouldering volcanic caves, this is a game you feel is constantly propelling you forward, thanks to the variety of your surroundings.

It's a living, primal world that feels suited to shooting the scales off dinosaurs, rather than the first DC's glorified office complex setting.

LOST THE PLOT
The plot, of course, is utter nonsense. Revolving around an energy accident that's sucked an island research facility back to prehistoric times, it's Regina and Dylan's job to stop any survivors from becoming lunch.

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